Sorry. That last post ran on for more than 3,000 words and I ultimately needed to put it, and my poor readers, out of their misery. But there is one additional point I think it’s important to make about the many accusations and innuedoes being directed at Mr. Gates. But first . . .
Would you like to guess what country currently has the fastest growing population in the world?
Poor, civil-war-ravaged Syria.
In second place? Angola. Which, not coincidentally, also has the highest rate of infant mortality in the world year after year. Third, fourth and fifth fastest growing populations belong to Malawi, Burundi, and Chad.
In fact, every one of the top 35 countries with the highest rates of populaton growth are all poor, war-torn, drought-stricken, or all three, and have appallingly high rates of death of children under five.
That’s a little counter-intuitive isn’t it? That the places where children die the most are the places producing the most children?
On the other end of that spectrum are most of the developed countries of the world, where population growth rates have been flattening out for decades now. In fact quite a few rich, Western nations are now experiencing negative population growth. In other words, people aren’t having enough babies to replace the people who are dying.
There is a single dynamic driving the results on both ends of this continuum.
Over the last hundred years it has become evident that in places where mothers are unsure that their babies are going to survive into adulthood, they tend to have a lot more babies. It’s a form of insurance that at least a couple of them will live to take care of them when they are elderly.
Conversely, when mothers live in a culture that makes them confident their kids aren’t going to die from starvation, disease, war, or natural calamity, they have fewer children. A LOT fewer.
As standards of living have risen all over the world, birth rates have plummeted. Those two things are tightly linked. This is well understood.
The replacement rate in most modern, Western nations is an average of 2.3 children per family. Many countries in the Northern Hemisphere have already fallen below that replacement level. Thus, their populations are shrinking.
Here’s what all the above has to do with what people are carelessly sharing about Bill Gates.
Many of the terrible and terrifying conspiracy theories being circulated contain the implication (and often the explicit assertion) that Gates advocates reducing earth’s population by arranging for lots of people to die.
If you haven’t seen these, good on you. I won’t link to that garbage, but they’re out there.
These videos and articles invariably contain a short quote, clip, or exerpt in which Gates points to high birth rates in poor countries as a problem that needs to be addressed.
Well, the Internet has given me trust issues.
I’ve learned not to believe anyone’s characterization of what someone else says or thinks. I now make it a practice to go to the full, un-edited sources of what is being excerpted and characterized . . . especially if the excerpter or characterizer is being critical. And SUPER especially so if the characterizer is accusing someone of plotting mass murder or a world dictatorship takeover.
So I went to the originals of Gates’ comments in his speeches, and the source documents on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site. And guess what I discovered . . .
In every single case I researched, Gates was speaking about population in the context of that phenomenon I described above. The one about how women have fewer children when fewer of their babies routinely die of preventable diseases, starvation, or nasty water.
Specifically, Gates is saying we need to take measures to reduce infant and child mortality, and raise the standards of living of the poor in these countries, and that doing so will result in their population growth leveling off.
So just let the full reality of this sink in for a moment . . .
A person who is funding efforts to find ways to see fewer mothers bury their infants, is having his words about those efforts surgically edited to validate speculation that he wants lots of currently living people, to die.
Welcome to Internet 2020.
Look, I have no interest in defending Gates’ politics. We clearly disagree. Nor do I care to defend his plans. I can’t speak to whether they’re wise or a waste of his money. A lot of them are based on questionable left-of center presuppositions.
I know that some of the initiatives he funds promote birth control, which is a non-starter for all my Roman Catholic friends. And some orgs he’s funding almost certainly want to provide abortion, which is, of course, appalling to me. I’ve spent my entire adult life in the Pro-Life cause.
What I am interested in is justice, mercy, humility, and truth. And not just for “my side.” And that means it’s not okay to traffic in sensationalistic lies and distortions that are not only inaccurate, but in some cases the opposite of the truth. Distortions that are frequently embraced and spread willy-nilly by good people in my own tribe.
It hurts our credibility. It hurts our cause. It’s just . . . wrong.
And “The other side does it,” isn’t a valid plea. So, please, please, please keep two things in mind at all times when you’re online.
- The internet is filled with content cleverly designed to manipulate you. Most is designed to make money doing so. Clicks + Page Views + Shares = $$$$.
- The rest is designed to advance an agenda. To get you to hate what they hate. To fear what they fear. To oppose what they oppose. To make their enemy, your enemy too.
Countless “alternative news” web sites have emerged with that one goal in mind. Shun them. And when you can’t, don’t believe a word you’ve read without remembering the two points above.
It goes without saying that you can’t trust anything the mainstream “legitimate” news sources say either. It’s unfortunate. Both of the above warnings equally apply to CNN, Reuters, and The Washington Post, as well.
Most of the information on the “alternative news” sites is positioned as being provided with the noble goal of “opening our eyes” to what’s really going on. That should sound familiar to believers . . .
The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4
This is not fun to write. Believe me, I’d much rather encourage and entertain than reprove and rebuke, but we’ve got to stop allowing ourselves to be manuipulated. But I’m mindful that Paul told the believers in Corinth that they have thousands of “teachers” but not many fathers. (1 Cor. 4:15)
So, please just consider this some loving fatherly advice.